Scheer to force Commons vote on transfer of Tori Stafford's killer to healing lodge
'Terri-Lynne McClintic belongs behind bars and ... the government absolutely has the power to make it happen'
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says he will force Liberal MPs to put their votes on the record over the controversial decision by Correctional Service Canada to transfer a child murderer to a healing lodge.
"Next week we will table a motion on our opposition day to demand that the government condemn the decision to send [Tori Stafford's] killer to a healing lodge and exercise its moral, legal and political authority to transfer her back to prison," Scheer told reporters Friday.
Scheer announced his plan after a week in the House of Commons that saw the Opposition angrily demanding the federal government overturn Terri-Lynne McClintic's transfer to the Okima Ohci Healing Lodge for Aboriginal Women on Nekaneet First Nation in southern Saskatchewan.
A government official confirmed that McClintic is Indigenous.
McClintic pleaded guilty in 2010 to first degree murder in the death of eight-year-old Tori Stafford. According to Stafford's family, McClintic was transferred from the Grand Valley Institution for Women near Kitchener, Ont.
Scheer repeated his claim from earlier in the week that the Liberal government has the power to direct the prison service to reverse the transfer so McClintic is once again "behind bars," rather than in the more informal setting in Saskatchewan.
"Terri-Lynne McClintic belongs behind bars, and despite their claims the government absolutely has the power to make it happen," he said.
A spokeswoman from Correctional Service Canada told CBC that there's little difference between the living conditions in a medium security prison and those in a medium security healing lodge.
"The medium security living units are similar at all federal women's institutions, including the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge," she said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said repeatedly in the Commons that McClintic was classified as a medium security prisoner in 2014 — under the previous Conservative government — and remains in that classification today. The healing lodge holds both minimum- and medium-security prisoners.
According to Scott Bardsley, spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, the minister has overall responsibility for the correctional system and can give directions to the corrections commissioner, but he cannot weigh in on the management of an individual offender.
"The law authorizes the minister to provide direction to the commissioner. These directions can be to fulfil statutory responsibilities for the agency's strategic priorities or for reporting requirements to support his accountability to Parliament," Bardsley said in an email to CBC.
"Directions should be high level and can relate to general operational CSC policies. However, the ability to issue direction should not be used to impinge on the day-to-day management of CSC operations by the commissioner."